by Laurie Ann Flory
In Spring 2012, St. Martin’s contributed $630.19 to the UTO Ingathering. More than 40%, or $260.19, of that total was from coin donations. Your spare change counts!
The United Thank Offering, often referred to as UTO, is a program of the Episcopal Church for the mission of the whole Church, founded by and administered by women since 1889. The United Thank Offering supports projects that: address poverty, make significant impact, demonstrate new and innovative work, and/or are a part of a planned diocesan/provincial mission strategy. The UTO provides a way for men, women, and children of the Episcopal Church to give daily thanks to God. There are several ways to contribute: “blue boxes” for coin donations or envelopes on the day of Ingathering.
The money we give supports missions and ministries both domestically and internationally throughout the Episcopal Church. In 2011, UTO awarded 59 grants, for a total of $1,634,526.19.
Examples of these grants include:
- Reading and Writing Outreach Program for Underserved Children in Oxford, North Carolina.
- Medical equipment for a maternity ward in Newala, Tanzania.
- Bhutanese Refugee Community Assistance Program, a project of Holy Cross Episcopal Church Kentwood, Michigan.
- Construction of a Primary Healthcare Unit for Panyang Community, in the Diocese of South Dakota’s Companion Diocese of Twic East in South Sudan.
- Neighborhood Youth Outreach Program at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania.
- St. Columba’s Independence Cay Transitional Homeless Shelter in Marathon, Florida.
The United Thank Offering is not only a financial partner in the mission work of the Episcopal Church, it can also be a spiritual contribution. My family and I are new to the Episcopal Church. This Spring was our family’s first opportunity to contribute to the United Thank Offering. We have two children and our “blue box” stayed out on our kitchen table. How wonderful and sometimes amusing to hear what the children are thankful for: “I am thankful for… my brother, food, my toothbrush, the sky.” How important it is for them and each family member to hear what you are thankful for. Listening to their prayers of thankfulness brought us closer: to each other and to God. Those simple prayers and coins help people around the world. I encourage each household, even those without children, to take a “blue box” and offer your prayers of thankfulness. The simple act of dropping in coins and speaking out our thanksgivings brought a deeper awareness of the abundance of God’s blessings.
St. Martin’s Fall UTO Ingathering will be Sunday, September 30, 2012. Collection boxes and envelopes are available in our parish hall at St. Martin’s.
Download the UTO grant list from 2011.